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Nissan North America, Incorporated, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Nissan NV

Nissan North America, Incorporated, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
September 25, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 186 (Wednesday, September 25, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 59090-59092]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-23360]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0142; Notice 2]


Nissan North America, Incorporated, Grant of Petition for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

ACTION: Grant of Petition.

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SUMMARY: Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) has determined that 
certain model year (MY) 2009 through 2012 Nissan Titan trucks 
manufactured from January 31, 2008 to July 17, 2012 and MY 2012 Nissan 
NV trucks, buses or multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPVs) manufactured 
from December 20, 2010 to July 17, 2012, do not fully comply with 
paragraph S3.1.4.1 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
102, Transmission Shift Position Sequence, Starter Interlock, and 
Transmission Braking Effect. Nissan has filed an appropriate report 
dated July 23, 2012, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Mr. Vince 
Williams, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202)366-2319, 
facsimile (202)366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    I. Nissan's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) 
and the rule implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556), Nissan 
submitted a petition for an exemption from the notification and remedy 
requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
    Notice of receipt of Nissan's petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on July 5, 2013, in the Federal Register (78 FR 
40546.) No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) Web site

[[Page 59091]]

at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search 
instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2012-0142.''
    II. Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 45,167 MY 2009 
through 2012 Nissan Titan trucks manufactured from January 31, 2008 to 
July 17, 2012 and MY 2012 Nissan NV trucks, buses or MPVs manufactured 
from December 20, 2010 to July 17, 2012 equipped with steering column-
mounted transmission shift levers with a manual mode.
    III. Rule Text: Paragraph S3.1.4.1 of FMVSS No. 102 specifically 
states:

    S3.1.4.1 Except as specified in S3.1.4.3, if the transmission 
shift position sequence includes a park position, identification of 
shift positions, including the positions in relation to each other 
and the position selected, shall be displayed in view of the driver 
whenever any of the following conditions exist:
    (a) The ignition is in a position where the transmission can be 
shifted; or
    (b) The transmission is not in park.

    IV. Summary of Nissan's Analyses: Nissan explains that the 
noncompliance is that on the affected vehicles a unique sequence of 
actions can lead the shift position indicator to incorrectly display 
the shift position as required by paragraph S3.1.4.1 of FMVSS No. 102.
    Nissan further explains that the noncompliance occurs when the 
following sequences are accomplished:
    (1) The transmission is shifted into ``manual'' shift mode by 
pressing the ``manual'' shift mode button; and
    (2) The ignition is switched from the ``ON'' position directly into 
``ACC'' position, which shuts off the engine.
    During the time in which the ignition is in the ``ACC'' mode, the 
gear position indicator displays the last ``manual'' gear position of 
the transmission ([l]\M\ through [4]\M\) prior to the ``ACC'' mode. If 
the key is not rotated from the ``ACC'' position and the shift lever is 
moved, the last ``manual'' gear position will be displayed regardless 
of the shift lever position (the engine will not be running). Turning 
the ignition to either the ``ON'' or ``OFF'' positions will reset the 
indicator, at which point the correct position will be displayed.
    This issue only occurs when the ignition is switched from ``ON'' 
into ``ACC'' mode and the engine is off. Further, the vehicle cannot be 
restarted unless the ignition is switched out of ``ACC'' at which point 
the shift position indicator would reset and show the correct position. 
Likewise, if the ignition is turned to the ``OFF'' position to turn the 
vehicle completely off, the position indicator resets itself and will 
display the correct shift position the next time the vehicle is 
started.
    Nissan believes the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    1. The vehicle cannot be operated in the noncompliant condition. 
The noncompliant condition only exists when the vehicle ignition is 
switched from the ``ON'' directly into the ``ACC'' mode and exists only 
for the time that the ignition remains in ``ACC'' mode. The engine is 
not running at this time. If the transmission is shifted into park 
while in ``ACC'' mode, it cannot be removed from park unless the 
ignition is switched to the ``ON'' position. If the ignition is 
switched to either the ``ON'' position (to start the vehicle), or the 
``OFF'' position (to remove the key and exit the vehicle) the shift 
indicator resets to the correct position and the vehicle is no longer 
in the noncompliant condition.
    2. The sequence of events that leads to the noncompliant condition 
is exceptionally rare. This sequence, stated in the description of the 
noncompliance, is not one that a driver should encounter in the typical 
operation of the vehicle. If a driver were to happen into this 
circumstance, the condition is so fleeting that the vehicle would 
likely be taken out of the noncompliant condition almost immediately. 
This is evidenced by the fact that some of the affected vehicles have 
been on the road for four years and Nissan has not received any 
customer complaints or warranty claims regarding the issue.
    3. The likelihood of an affected vehicle being inadvertently left 
out of park is nearly impossible in this case. When the noncompliant 
condition occurs, the shift indicator states, incorrectly, that the 
vehicle is in a ``manual'' forward gear regardless of the actual 
shifter position. Due to the geometry of the shifter, the park position 
should be apparent to the driver even without the assistance of the 
shift indicator.
    4. Furthermore, since the owner cannot remove the mechanical key 
from the ignition while the transmission is in any position except for 
park due to the transmission shift interlock, it is unlikely that a 
vehicle would be left unattended in the noncompliant condition. Given 
this, the driver will either exit the vehicle without the key or the 
driver will remain in the vehicle.
    If the driver attempts to leave the vehicle without the key, an 
audible warning (as required by FMVSS No. 114) will sound, alerting the 
driver that the key is in the ignition. This should reduce the 
possibility of the operator leaving the vehicle.
    If the driver remains in the vehicle, he or she will attempt to 
restart the vehicle. An attempt to restart will take the ignition from 
the ``ACC'' position to the ON position and the indicator will reset to 
the correct position.
    5. As NHTSA recognized in proposing FMVSS No. 102 (see 49 FR 32409-
32411, August 25, 1988,) the purpose of the display requirement for 
PRNDM information is to ``provide the driver with transmission position 
information for the vehicle conditions where such information can 
reduce the likelihood of shifting errors.'' Thus, the primary function 
of the transmission display is to inform the driver of gear selection 
and relative position of the gears while the engine is running. Except 
for the absence of the required transmission shift position during the 
one circumstance described above, which occurs when the engine is not 
running, all of the 45,167 affected vehicles otherwise comply with 
paragraph S3.1.4.1 of FMVSS No. 102.
    Nissan also stated its belief that in similar situations, NHTSA has 
granted the applications of other petitioners.
    Nissan has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that all future production vehicles will comply with 
FMVSS No. 102.
    In summation, Nissan believes that the described noncompliance of 
its vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its 
petition, to exempt from providing recall notification of noncompliance 
as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall noncompliance 
as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.
    V. NHTSA'S Decision: NHTSA has reviewed Nissan's analyses that the 
subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Considering the rare occurrence where the shift position indicator 
fails to correctly display the shift position, the noncompliance poses 
little if any risk to motor vehicle safety. This is because the vehicle 
cannot be started or operated in a manual gear position of the 
transmission, i.e., 1 through 4. In addition, the mechanical ignition 
key in these vehicles cannot be removed unless the transmission control 
is in ``park,'' and an audible warning required by FMVSS No. 114 would 
alert a driver exiting the vehicle if the key remained in the starting 
system. Furthermore, if the driver places the vehicle in park, the 
shifter cannot be moved to another position without rotating the key 
from the accessory position, at which point shift position indicator 
would reset and show the correct shift position.

[[Page 59092]]

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Nissan 
has met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 102 noncompliance 
is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Nissan's 
petition is hereby granted and Nissan is exempted from the obligation 
of providing notification of, and a remedy for, that noncompliance 
under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, this decision 
only applies to approximately 45,167 vehicles that Nissan no longer 
controlled at the time that it determined that a noncompliance existed 
in the subject vehicles. However, the granting of this petition does 
not relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the 
sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into 
interstate commerce of the noncompliant tires under their control after 
Nissan notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

    Authority:  (49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8)

Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2013-23360 Filed 9-24-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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